Gov’t Announces Housing Project for Disabled

A housing complex is to be built for 240 families that have members with serious physical disabilities, a government official announced Friday.

“Hun Sen has a plan to build 240 concrete flats for 240 families of [physically] handicapped in order to improve their living condition,” Council of Ministers Secretary of State Bun Uy said Sunday.

Hun Sen told the Council of Ministers on Friday that the facility, which will be built at an unspecified location in western Cambodia, would cost around $400,000—or around $1,700 per apartment, Bun Uy said.

The project, which includes a school and a health center, is to be a pilot scheme to later be implemented in other provinces, he said.

The prime minister asked wheth­er officials would like to share funds for the project, Bun Uy said, adding: “If no one donates any money, he said he would cover the costs with his own money.”

There are an estimated 60,000 people living with disabilities in Cambodia, according to 2005 data from Ministry for Social Affairs.

“[Hun Sen] does not want handicapped people to stay in centers for the handicapped,” Bun Uy said. “He wants them to have their own house, land and a means to support their children.”

Chea Vannath, former director of the Center for Social Develop­ment, said such a project would be a positive step but warned that it was “just a drop in the ocean” in terms of what is needed.

“I hope this is a comprehensive project with the correct follow-up and services provided,” she said. “Such a community must be sustainable in terms of schooling, health and other services.”

Calling Hun Sen’s initiative “long overdue,” SRP Deputy Secretary-General Mu Sochua said the government must implement a national program for providing housing to people with disabilities.

“Such a program should be funded by state money, not the prime minister’s,” she said.


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